Pests & Diseases

Ninety-five percent of yard and garden visitors are harmless and some are even helpful with eating other insects, breaking down organic matter and pollinating flowers. However, that remaining 5% can cause great damage if left unchecked. If your plant life is ailing Garpiel Group can help determine what can be done to manage pests and disease in your outdoor spaces. Here are some known destructive culprits in the Great Lakes Bay Region:

Turf Fungi Can Be Controlled

When we experience frequent, heavy rain that causes slow-release fertilizers to break down faster than normal. The rain flushes out the nutrients faster than normal, leaving plants susceptible to damage, including turf fungi. In this part of Michigan, the most common turf fungi we see are Red Thread, Dollar Spot, Summer Patch, and Necrotic Ring Spot. If you think one of these has infected your lawn, Garpiel can recommend cultural control methods that may help.

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Winter Injury

A common issue we see is dead/damaged boxwood, spruce, juniper and pine. This is commonly caused by the cold strong winds. The wind actually dries out the foliage causing burn and death in some cases to foliage and branches. Sometimes the plant will recover, but it means you have to look at unsightly plants for a while because it takes time for evergreen plants to recover from winter injury.

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Austrian Pine Ailments

Over the past decade throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region and Michigan, we have seen a major decline in blue spruce and Austrian pine conifers. There are several issues that commonly affect these types of trees. While Rhizophaera needlecast is a common problem for the Colorado blue spruce, for Austrian pines there are a couple of issues that commonly affect this type of tree.

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Snow Mold

After the snow melts, you may find that your lawn is riddled with circles or patches of dead-looking grass. It will look gray, tan, white or even pink. While it could be that the grass is dead because of the extreme winter conditions, you likely have one of two kinds of snow molds: gray or pink. These diseases are related to the length of time your turf is snow covered (usually three or more months). A heavier thatch layer also promotes snow mold.

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Two-Lined Chestnut Borer

The Great Lakes Bay Region is blessed with many large, beautiful oak trees, many of which are over 150 years old and were spared from the area’s heavy timbering of the 1850s. However, the two-lined chestnut borer has appeared recently in several areas of the region, particularly in parts of Midland, damaging and killing large oak trees.

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Rhizosphaera Needlecast Fungus

Is your spruce tree losing its needles? Does it look thin on the inside of branches? Can you see through the tree? If you answered yes to all these questions, your spruce tree is likely under attack from a fungus called Rhizosphaera needle cast.

Rhizosphaera needlecast is one of most common problems we encounter in Colorado blue spruce trees in our region. Rhizosphaera needlecast is a fungus that infests old growth and works toward new growth, making branches look thin and sometimes bare. If left uncontrolled, the disease can eventually kill the tree.

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European Chafer Grub

To most people, a grub is a grub. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. In the state of Michigan, there are two varieties of grubs that we most commonly see: the Japanese beetle and European chafer. The European chafer may be the most serious grub pest of home lawns. Although not as wide spread as the Japanese beetle, the European chafer is more damaging to your turf in areas where both are found. Unlike the Japanese beetle, the European chafer is not a problem in daily irrigated turf.

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Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire), native to Asia, was discovered in early 2002 in south eastern Michigan. Emerald Ash Borer, also known as EAB, is a small beetle, no larger than a penny. In its larvae, EAB chews tunnels beneath the tree’s bark, depriving the tree of nutrients and water, causing the tree to die from the top down.

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Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles typically emerge from their larval stage in your lawn in Michigan the first week of July. The first sign of a problem that property owners first notice usually is brown leaves or sparse foliage at the top of a tree or bush. The insects prefer sun, so they begin feeding at the tops of plants and work their way down.

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Oak Wilt Can be Avoided

If you have oak trees, don’t put away your pruning tools. Oaks need pruning during the dormant season, which starts in about a month.

Pruning can be an important part of tree maintenance. Regular thinning improves the aesthetics and health of trees. Proper pruning allows air to flow freely through trees, helping the interior dry after rain. Thinning also allows sunlight to better penetrate through the canopy, reducing the severity of fungi that thrive in dark, damp places such as thick crowns of trees.

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Apple Scab

Apple scab – a common fungal disease that affects almost all apple tree species – becomes apparent in July. But Garpiel Group recommends early spring as the best time to begin combatting the fungus.

Apple scab discolors the leaves and fruit of infected trees. Young leaves yellow and then develop dark patches. The dark patches eventually release spores, spreading the disease. You may notice an infected tree dropping its leaves as early as July. Lesions also may develop on the fruit.

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